Jasmin Paquet-Durand Ford elected new SGA President


Photo courtesy of Jasmin Paquet-Durand Ford

Angie Santos, Assistant News Editor

As the election for the fall semester wrapped up, the new Student Government Association administration was solidified. The election announced that Jasmin Paquet-Durand Ford will be serving as president with the official inauguration on April 7. 

Paquet-Durand Ford, who is majoring in economics, shared her feelings regarding her future presidency.

“It’s exciting, it’s a little overwhelming for sure,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

She previously served as vice president for three semesters and explained how this worked to prepare her for this moment. 

“I think I am more prepared than if I weren’t. I think – arguably – that’s one of the best positions you could be in to prepare yourself, even if the roles are different,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

The vice president’s role is more internal while the president’s role is more external, including duties like acting as a liaison for students, the Student Government, and administration. Paquet-Durand Ford credits the current acting president, Jose Escobedo, with involving her with presidential duties in preparation.

“He was kind enough to pull me into a lot of those things with the expectation I would be taking over,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

Paquet-Durand Ford attributed COVID-19 to having an impact on student organizations, adding that the SGA was no exception. 

“Student government like many other organizations … and just the whole world, it was impacted by COVID, you know whenever the spring 2020 elections happened, that’s right when COVID hit,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

In 2021, many members with experience and knowledge of how the Student Government Association ran, moved on, leaving a gap in the organization. Ford recalls the dwindling numbers of experienced people when she took up the role of vice president. 

“We have not yet gained traction on campus to the point where the organization is back to this vital thriving advocacy group,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

In regard to Paquet-Durand Ford’s motivation in her run for the presidency, she shared her unconventional reasoning for running.

“The honest truth is nobody else was running,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

Ideally, there would be multiple applicants running for different executive positions. A race like this would give students the chance to choose who they wish to represent the student body, something that Ford emphasizes is a critical goal for the organization. 

“Unfortunately, that was not the case this semester,” Paquet-Durand Ford said. “I really didn’t have any intention of running for president. It wasn’t until it became apparent to me that no one else had any intention of running or any desire to run and because I love student government and I believe in what it can be and I believe in the vision that I have for what it will be, that’s why I ran.”

Paquet-Durand Ford’s experience as vice president and her passion for student government was what led her to throw her hat in the ring. 

“10 minutes before the application deadline, whenever I filed my application, there was not a single other person running for president,” Paquet-Durand Ford said. “It was a little bit out of necessity, but with that in mind, it is something that I have taken on. I am humbled. I am excited. I recognize that I have made a decision to take on this position.”

Now preparing to move forward, she conveyed her intentions for the SGA including training and leadership development for members.

“My focus for student government is strengthening and developing our members so they can be the representatives that students deserve, and so that we can essentially rebuild student government to the organization it can be and it should be,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

In regard to the way SGA will be active with students, Ford emphasized building a foundation for students to be able to come forward with concerns or questions they might have.

“My only vision is to get student government to a place where we are engaging with students where they know we exist. That’s first [of] all, how about we have students know that we’re here for them,” Paquet-Durand Ford said.

This vision would also include a stronger approach to personally interacting with students.

“My primary focus going to this is building a strong organization both externally and internally so developing our senators into the leaders and representatives that students deserve,” Paquet-Durand Ford added. “I want us out there, tabling, events, you know reaching out to students one-on-one … whatever it takes.”

Finally, Paquet-Durand Ford concluded by expressing her hopes that her leadership could eventually make a stronger connection between SGA and the student body. 

“We are here to serve students, and I completely understand that might not be evident to a lot of people, so I just want to encourage people to reach out if they have any issues, if they want resources, if they need help with anything at the very least we can help point them in the right direction, and at the most, we could launch a whole project and radically change policy. We’ve got power, we got the resources. All that’s missing is that student engagement, and it’s two-fold we’ve gotta do our part,” Paquet-Durand Ford concluded.